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A New Ranking on Global Design From Helsinki--Where They Know Design.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on May 9, 2006

Check out this new report from Finland:

“New Designium Publication: Global Design Watch
A new report by Designium looks at the design policies of countries selected for the study. The principal objective of the study is to compare the effects of national design programmes on national competitiveness in the design sector. In 2002 the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) published a study called Building a case for added value through design with a design ranking drawn up using indicators from the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report.

The first report, published by Designium on national design programmes was completed in 2003.

The present report covers all the countries included in the previous report as well as four new ones: the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. In future we intend to monitor the design policies of these countries and the strategic content of their programmes, drawing up design competitiveness rankings using selected indicators at intervals of a few years.

The real winners compared to the situation in 2002 were Denmark and Singapore. The trend has been slightly downward for Finland, which fell from number one to number seven, and Norway, which fell from 18 to 22.”

Here is the ranking:

Design Competitiveness Ranking 2005 Design Ranking 2002

1. Japan 6.2 1. Finland 6.3
2. United States 6.2 2. United States 6.2
3. Germany 6.1 3. Germany 6.1
4. Switzerland 5.9 4. France 6.1
5. Denmark 5.8 5. Japan 6.1
6. France 5.7 6. Switzerland 6.0
7. Finland 5.7 7. Netherlands 6.0
8. Sweden 5.7 8. Sweden 6.0
9. Belgium 5.6 9. Denmark 5.8
10. Austria 5.6 10. Great Britain 5.8

Source: World Economic Forum 2005 Bibliography: World Economic Forum 2002,
Building a case for added value through design, NZ Institute of Economic Research 2003

Here is more directly from the report Designium World Design Series, which is a heck of a mouthful.

"The real winners compared to the situation in 2002 are Denmark and Singapore. Denmark has climbed up from ninth place to fifth. Denmark has invested heavily in the visibility of design, in the promotion of the Danish design brand, and in the development of co-operation between designers and businesses. Singapore has climbed up from 22nd place to 15th. Singapore aims to become the design hub in Asia. Design excellence is a key factor for national competitiveness. Ranking has been steady for the United States, which remains number two, and Sweden, which retains its eighth place on the list. The trend has been downward for Finland, which fell from number one to number seven, and Norway, which fell from 18 to 22.

In the Nordic region, Finland, Sweden and Denmark were very even, with their relative positions within two tenths of a point. Comparing the ranking with the figures for 2002, Finland has dropped, Sweden has remained stationary, and Denmark has risen. 2005 was the year of design in the Nordic region. In Finland the year of design focused on promoting design as part of the innovation systems and competitiveness of businesses, to give the general public an attractive image of Finnish design-intensive businesses and products, and to build efficient co-operation among interest groups in this sector."

Reader Comments

Martin Sidoruk

May 15, 2006 6:48 AM

Hi Bruce,
I was a contributor to the 2002-3 New Zealand study 'Building a Case for Added Value Through Design'. Many countries have developed design-led initiatives to benefit economic growth. They have all developed quite different strategies, so it is now very interesting to see the shift and rankings since the 2002 study. If you or your readers are interested, a link to the 2002 New Zealand Study report can be found on on


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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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